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Student in custody after allegedly bringing a gun to Hickman High School

UPDATE 12/4: Columbia police confirm a 16-year-old boy was taken into custody on Friday.

Police said the juvenile faces possible charges of felony unlawful use of a weapon with a disposition to be handled by the juvenile office.

ORIGINAL STORY: A Hickman High School statement to families reported a gun was found in a student’s backpack Friday.

This is the second incident involving a gun in the Columbia Public Schools this week. A bus driver found a handgun in a Smithton Middle School student’s backpack on the way home on Monday afternoon.

The statement from Hickman’s principal on Friday says a student told administration a little after noon that another student had a handgun in the school.

Upon investigation, the gun was found in a student’s backpack. Law enforcement has taken the student into custody.

“Hickman and the school district take this incident seriously, it violates our school safety policies. We must remain vigilant,” Hickman principal Tony Gragnani said in the statement. “I am asking for your help in addressing the important issue of school safety.”

No one was reported to be hurt.

April Ferrao, a parent of a Hickman freshman, said the latest incident concerns her. She feels Hickman’s building staff does a good job of keeping people out of the building that should not be there, citing the arrests of two teens caught hanging around campus with guns. The students in the two latest cases, though, appeared to be students that attended the school.

“It’s a huge concern,” Ferrao told ABC 17 News. “We’ve got mass shootings all the time in this country, and they can happen anywhere. And I think that we need to take it seriously.”

Ferrao said she did not know whether either student had any intention to use the weapons while at school, or if they brought them for self-protection. That the students brought them on campus, she said, runs the risk of an accidental shooting.

“You’re carrying it around in your backpack, and maybe you don’t have your safety on, maybe there’s something wrong with the gun, whatever,” Ferrao said. “You throw the backpack down, the gun goes off. Your classmate’s dead.”

CPS policy mandates a year-long suspension or expulsion for bringing a gun to school. However, the superintendent can recommend to the board of education a different punishment on a case-by-case basis.

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